Lee Westwood questions qualifying system for Europe’s Ryder Cup team as players make late charge at Wentworth

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Lee Westwood has questioned the structure of Europe’s Ryder Cup qualifying system as players make a late scramble for this month’s team.

Europe captain Padraig Harrington looks set to face some tough decisions as players battle to impress at this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm have already secured their spots in Harrington’s team, but four more will qualify on Sunday via the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

That will leave just three wildcard spots left for the 43rd Ryder Cup, which was postponed from last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and is taking place at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin from September 24 to 26.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry is currently in the final automatic spot, but he and Westwood’s places are under serious threat from Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger - who would overtake Rory McIlroy in the European points list with a top-50 finish or better.

That would mean McIlroy qualified via the world points list instead of Lowry, who in turn could knock Westwood out with a top-eight finish or better, depending on Westwood’s result.

Whoever missed out would join the likes of Ian Poulter - who missed the halfway cut at Wentworth - Sergio Garcia and Rose in vying for one of Harrington’s three wild cards on Sunday evening, although Rose can still qualify automatically with a win.

Wiesberger had been three over par after six holes of his first round, but finished birdie, eagle and added a superb 67 on Friday to end the day inside the top 20 on six under, two shots behind Lowry.

Westwood was in danger of missing the cut when he covered the front nine in 37 to fall back to level par, but made four birdies on the back nine to record a second-successive 70.

“I’m here to try and win the BMW PGA Championship and Sunday night, if you’re in the team, then you start thinking about the Ryder Cup,” Westwood said.

“There’s so many variables as well with the way we’ve set up the qualification this time around. This tournament is heavily loaded compared to everything else we’ve done and I think it’s something to maybe look at in the future.

“You can see how players are reacting to it out on the golf course. You know there’s people right in there and they are shooting scores where clearly they have got other things on their mind.

“I’ve played with Shane, he’s managed to block everything out well and play well and Shane Lowry is the kind of player that you want on your Ryder Cup team. I’m pleased to see him play well.”

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